After three successful years in the hometown of Basel between 2006-08, Roger Federer suffered the first loss at this tournament since 2003 when Novak Djokovic halted him in the title match in 2009, setting up another final clash in 2010 on November 7.
Two weeks earlier, Federer had won the title in Stockholm and was ready to chase the fourth Basel crown in the last five years, with Novak as his main rival just like 12 months ago. Both players claimed straight-sets victories in the opening four matches (Roger played against no break points until the semi-final when Roddick broke him once), setting the 18th clash between two of the finest players in the world besides Nadal.
Federer went on to score the 12th win over the young opponent, delivering a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 triumph for his 65th ATP crown, leaving Pete Sampras on 64. Roger served at 58% and had six aces and four double faults, offering five break points to Novak and fending off four of those to keep the pressure on the other side of the net.
Djokovic landed 70% of the first serve in and played well on the second serve to stay in touch with Roger in sets one and two before fading from the court in the decider, having to play against eight break opportunities and suffering three breaks to finish runner-up and fail to defend the title.
Federer had more winners than Novak and fewer unforced errors, winning eight points more overall and managing to match Djokovic's pace in the more extended rallies to earn the title fair and square. Almost nothing could have separated them in the shortest, mid-range and most extended rallies (there were only a few of those that reached the tenth stroke) and Roger won a few points more in every department to forge his win, dominating in the decider to pick up his fourth Basel crown.
Novak fended off two break points in the very first game of the match and hit a backhand down the line winner to earn a chance on the return in the very next game that could have sent him in front. Federer saved it with a service winner and did the same with the second break chance, closing the game with a forehand drive volley to avoid an early setback.
Djokovic couldn't find the rhythm on serve in those moments and suffered a break in game three when Roger forced an error from his rival, confirming the break with a hold at love in game four for a 3-1. Three service winners in the eighth game kept Federer in the lead before facing a break point at 5-4 while serving for the set.
Novak sprayed a forehand error to waste his opportunity and Roger secured the opener with a service winner after 45 minutes, gathering massive boost ahead of the rest of the encounter. After a shaky start, Djokovic started to play better in set number two, delivering a nice hold and his first break of the match in game two when Federer sent a routine backhand long.
Novak confirmed the lead with a hold at love in game three and controlled the scoreboard until game nine when he served for the set. Roger earned a break chance in that last game but Djokovic repelled it with a good serve, clinching the set with an excellent serve to send the clash into a decider.
There, Federer kicked off the action with a hold at love, repeating that in game three and breaking Novak for a 3-1 lead after a costly double fault from the Serb. A service winner pushed Roger 4-1 in front, putting one hand on the trophy with a break in game six and sealing the deal in style after a backhand down the line winner that delivered the fourth Basel title to him.
With no room for errors, Federer lost just one point in four service games in set number three to race towards the finish line and a milestone title that pushed him ahead of Pete Sampras on the exclusive list of the ATP champions.